ARC Review: Rose by Holly Webb

Middle Grade historical book by Holly Webb.

Title: Rose
Series: Rose # 1
By: Holly Webb
Author Info: Website | Twitter | Goodreads
Age Group: Middle Grade
Genre Type: Historical, Magic, Mystery
Publication Date: September 3rd 2013
Pages: 240 pages
Format: ARC
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky 

Goodreads Summary:

Rose isn't like the other orphans at St Bridget's Home for Abandoned Girls. Instead of dreaming of getting adopted by loving, wealthy parents, Rose wants to get a job and be independent. She doesn't need anyone but herself. She finds her escape working as a maid for Mr. Fountain, an alchemist. Unable to ignore the magic that flows throughout the grand residence, Rose realizes that just maybe; she might have a little bit of magic in her too. This new series featuring magicians, witches, talking cats, mist-monsters, and friendships will have young readers in a trance!

Rose is delightful book and reading it was simply a pleasure. The author Holly Webb skillfully whisks you away to a enchanting world of magic and mystery. A world of talking cats, elemental monsters and witches, where the power of friendship can be as strong as any magic.

The setting for Rose takes place in Mr. Fountain’s grand home which has a decidedly Victorian-Gothic feel to it, and as Rose would say it was “-positively soaked in magic.” From the moment young Rose enter is massive green door with a it’s mermaid knocker, the magic really begins. I had great fun reading Rose with it’s Upstairs, Downstairs feel and characterizations, as well as the magically infused home (that likes to practice it’s own magical form of trickery on Rose.) There’s just something fun about tramping around and old Gothic-Victorian, and I think young readers are going to enjoy this fun setting. One that’s alive with magic, and with an amazing heroine to get a story rolling.

Young Rose just wants to leave St. Bridget’s Home for Abandoned Girls. When an opportunity arises for Rose to gain her independence, she eagerly accepts employment as a maid for Mr. Fountain, who just happens to be an alchemist. Rose is about gain more than just independence and employment, she’s about to find out that she just might be magical too.


Rose shines as easily as a gem in this story. Charming, spunky, and hardworking. I found her easily likeable and admired her independent nature. Here you have an orphan, who bravely takes on a new situation (employment) as she leaves the orphanage. She leaves her past behind and embarks on an adventure, and ends up in the middle of magic and a mystery. She makes new friends, but does not forget those she left behind at St. Bridget’s, and is loyal to them. Rose in the beginning of the story actually tries to avoid magic it even though the magic seems to be attracted to her. Rose kept me entertained throughout the story, and I pretty much adored this plucky new heroine.

The secondary characters are all just as fantastic, and entertaining. There’s Mr. Fountain in the background surrounded in magic and mystery. Freddie his apprentice and Gus, the talking cat, who has his own unique magic. The kitchen downstairs staff as well as upstairs aristocrat family also appear. And of course there’s an exceptionally, dastardly character to boo for who adds just enough scare factor to make this mystery a bit scary for middle grade readers.

The author Holly Webb has created a magically infused world for young readers to dive into. A world where it’s not uncommon to see magic in the day-to-day occurrences. But magic has a price, and in Rose, only the wealthy have easy access to it.

Besides the great setting and Rose our heroine, I really enjoyed the theme of friendship and loyalty that interweaves throughout the book. A theme that is important for young readers.

I would have liked more time spent with the mysterious Mr. Fountain. I was hoping to land in the middle of one of his alchemist experiments, but for the most part he was in the background until the end of the story.

MY RATING: 4.5 Stars. I really liked it!


Rose is a wonderful choice for young readers looking for a story with a bit of magic and mystery. The heroine Rose is charming and plucky and will have great appeal to readers. Holly Webb’s new and exciting series that features all kinds of fun magic including: magicians, talking cats, witches, elemental mist-monsters, and the power of friendships will have young readers eager to pick up her nest book !

A courtesy review copy of this book was provided by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky via NetGalley in exchange for my fair review. Thank you Sourcebooks Jabberwocky for the review opportunity!